The Godfather

The Godfather ★★★★★

Part of My Autumn Rewatches Challenge
Task #6: Rewatch a film that won an Academy Award for Best Picture.

This film received eleven Academy Award nominations and won three categories, including Best Leading Actor (Marlon Brando) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola) as well as Best Picture (producer Albert S. Ruddy). I read the book before the film was released in theaters, saw it in the cinema shortly thereafter. I absolutely loved it -- even more than the novel. I think I may have seen this twice in its entirety during the years since, but not in this millennium, so it was high time for a rewatch.

Things I never forgot: The theme song, "Godfather Waltz," and the "Love Theme" by Nino Rota. Brando's dominating screen presence and unforgettable role as Don Vito Corleone, the mob's Godfather. His voice, his look, his calculated movements; this is acting perfection. The wonderful Italian wedding. The horse's head. The hit on the Don by the Tattaglia family. How good Robert Duvall was as the lawyer and German-Irish adopted son Tom Hagen. The "extermination" of Paulie Gatto (John Martino). The hidden gun and murder of Sollozzo (Al Lettieri). The exile to Sicily (beautiful), shotgun-toting bodyguards and marriage/death of Apollonia (Simonetta Stefanelli). Going to the mattresses. The highway toll station hit. Tom's demotion from consigliere to family attorney. The tomato garden scene. The orchestrated payback on rival mob moss Barzini (Richard Conte).

Things I had forgotten: That James Caan as Sonny Corleone died his hair dark. That Talia Shire of "Rocky" fame played Sonny's sister Connie Corleone. The way Luca Brasi was offed. What a putz Fredo Corleone (John Cazale) was. How Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) was a "civilian" till the hospital sequence. That Diane Keaton of "Annie Hall" fame was Michael's girlfriend Kay Adams. Suspenders -- so many suspenders! Alex Rocco as Moe Greene in Las Vegas. Who the traitor was. Details of the baptism scene. How friggin' long this is, but without a lot of waste.

I'm sure there's more I could mention, but the bottom line is that this occupies the apex of the mob movies genre in my book. I know there are many who say the sequel was even better, but Brando will always be "The Godfather" to me.

Winner for 1972 of Best Picture
Ranked #1 among Best Films of 1972
Ranked #1 among Francis Ford Coppola Ranked
Ranked #2 among the revised AFI 100 (2007)
Ranked #2 among the IMDb Top 250 (June 2014)
Ranked #2 in my Showdown #21: Adaptations
Ranked #3 among the original AFI 100 (1998)
Ranked #19 among My 50 Favorites
Representing 1972 among Films Nominated for Best Picture
Representing 1972 in My Life as Drama

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